I’ve always felt I do my best work with a crowd behind me.
For the first decade in my career, I covered sports. It seemed like my finest stories came during the state basketball tournaments. I’d dutifully type from press row what happened in the previous game while fans of the teams currently on the floor yelled and screamed. In a situation that distracted so many people, I honed in on what I was trying to share. It elevated it, in my mind.
I felt the same way when I moved into news reporting and then into management. When I moved into an office, I hated it. I wanted to be in the newsroom, where the real collaboration happened.
I got my wish a few years ago, when we rearranged our building and moved the newsroom into an open space. Instead of taking a nearby office, I grabbed a space on the edge and set up shop, within earshot of the reporters. They could hear what I was doing, and I could hear what they were doing, and I loved it.
With my recent role change, I’ve grudgingly moved into an office. I acknowledge the need for it, as many conversations I’m having now aren’t appropriate to be broadcast across the building. I know my voice carries, and five too many ear infections left me unaware of how loudly I whisper.
When people come to visit, they say how nice my new office looks, with several monitors set up around the room so I can monitor our web stats, email, social media, website and still have a little space to do some work.
Well-meaning people will ask how I like my new office. I’ll usually answer that I really miss the newsroom. It’s too quiet in this space to think.
It’s the same reason why, when I’m doing a little work from home, I like to take my laptop out of my office area and grab a spot in our living room or our kitchen table. Sure, there’s chaos with our kids going on all around me, but I like the noise.
It’s hard to explain if you’re not talking to another introvert. While I can function in society and communicate like a mostly normal human being, my natural state is to be quiet and listen, withdrawing into myself.
That’s not to say I don’t like having people around me. I’m just not terribly boisterous or open to sharing unless I’ve psyched myself up to do it.
That’s why the newsroom always felt so comfortable to me. This industry seems to attract a lot of like-minded introverts, where we can all be weird, awkward and funny together.
It’s that collaboration that helps make this newspaper and ones like it interesting places to work. We welcome an assortment of characters with a diversity of opinions, and they all have a bit of a say on what we report, what we share and what we represent in our communities. We’re an eclectic group, just like the people in this region are more eclectic than people give them credit.
Whenever we have tours in the building, I joke to guests that if the newsroom were full of reporters, it meant they weren’t doing their job, going out into the region and finding the news.
In the same way, you’ll forgive me if I’m not always in my office, answering the phone on the first ring. If I’m really doing my job, I’m out in the newsroom and sports areas, helping people do the best job they can for you.
Like I said, I’ve always felt I do my best work with a crowd behind me.